Moissanite – the diamond alternative at a tenth of the price that savvy brides-to-be are increasingly choosing
A hot trend in big bling, moissanite offers a strong alternative to diamonds at a fraction of the price – something that brides-to-be are increasingly picking up on as they buy more of the clear, shiny, laboratory-concocted substitute.
Moissanite is perfect for the bridal market,” says Weirick, who runs the moissanite shop in Australia. Engagement rings, she says, account for 80 per cent of Moissanite sales. “And interestingly it is the brides themselves who come into the store to choose their rings or tell their partners about moissanite. They are savvy women who generally want big stones and know what they want.”
Moissanite merchant and metalsmith Kristin Coffin sees three more attractions in moissanite. “It’s affordable, ethically made, and the options encourage complete freedom of style – and lifestyle,” she says. “You can have a gorgeous designer ring that fits your style, and still have money left over to travel, or buy a house.”
The gem sells for about a tenth of what diamonds do. It was originally discovered in its natural form in the late 19th century by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Henri Moissan at an Arizona meteorite strike site called Canyon Diablo – Devil’s Canyon.
Moissan is described as “an excellent lecturer and a meticulous and patient experimentalist” on the Nobel Prize website. He did, though, originally mistake the moissanite fragments for diamonds, but later fell under the new rock’s devilish spell and devoted his life to recreating it. His efforts were in vain; but as it happens the Swedish discoverer of silicon, Jöns Jacob Berzelius, had already synthesised its constituent compound, silicon carbide (SiC), also known as carborundum.